Speaker of US House of Representatives Republican Kevin McCarthy ousted in historic first

The chaos in Congress continues after Kevin McCarthy was ousted as speaker, ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers reports

Kevin McCarthy, the speaker of the US Congress, has been voted out of the job in a first for American history after a showdown with the hard right of his Republican Party.

In a quiet chamber, the presiding officer announced McCarthy had lost the vote 216-210 saying the office of speaker "is hereby declared vacant."

It is only the third time a speaker of the House of Representatives has faced the prospect of such a vote, the second time it has ever reached the floor and the first time they have ever lost one.

With no obvious successor to Mr McCarthy, it is unclear who will step into the role.

Kevin McCarthy's term in office had been turbulent since the start. Credit: AP

A close ally of Mr McCarthy, Republican Patrick McHenry, will takover the job temporarily until a replacement is found.

Mr McCarthy’s chief rival, Matt Gaetz brought forward the “motion to vacate” drawing together a handful of Republican critics of the speaker and many Democrats who say he is unworthy of leadership.

11 Republicans voted to remove Mr McCarthy but due to the slim majority his party holds in Congress it was enough to tip the scales against him.

The vote is being viewed as triggering an open civil war within the Republicans between the hardline Donald Trump-backing minority who opposed Mr McCarthy and the more moderate majority who supported the former speaker.

Mr McCarthy and Mr Trump have had a complicated relationship in the past but the former president did not back the motion to remove the speaker on Tuesday.

Hours before the vote Mr Trump posted on his social media website Truth Social: "Why is it that Republicans are always fighting among themselves, why aren’t they fighting the Radical Left Democrats who are destroying our Country?"

The latest crisis began over the weekend when Mr McCarthy ended a tense deadlock that could have resulted in a shutdown in the US government by using Democrat support to pass a budget through the chamber.

Congressman Matt Gaetz was instrumental is Kevin McCarthy's downfall. Credit: AP

The same group of hard-right Republicans who ousted him on Tuesday were the ones refusing to compromise on their budget demands a few days ago.

Mr Gaetz threatened to initiate a motion to remove Mr McCarthy if he relied on Democrat support to get the budget through the chamber, a threat he kept to on Tuesday.

Mr McCarthy insisted he would not cut a deal with Democrats to remain in power - not that he could have relied on their help even if he had asked.

ITV News spoke to two Republican Presidential candidates about the chaos in their party after Kevin McCarthy was ousted

Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said in a letter to colleagues that he wants to work with Republicans, but he was unwilling to provide the votes needed to save Mr McCarthy.

"It is now the responsibility of the GOP members to end the House Republican Civil War," Mr Jeffries said, announcing the Democratic leadership would vote for the motion to oust the speaker.

Mr McCarthy's time in office has been plagued by instability ever since the Republicans won the right to nominate a speaker when they got their majority in the House.

It took Mr McCarthy an unprecedented 15 rounds of votes in January over multiple days to even secure the office after the disappointing midterms for the Republicans only returned them a slim majority.

One of the compromises Mr McCarthy offered to the members of his party who refused to back him was to change the rules to allow a single member of Congress to initiate a vote to remove him.

Mr Gaetz made use of the new rule on Tuesday.

Many of the people who were reluctant to back Mr McCarthy in January were the same group to trigger his downfall nine months later.

The speaker of the House of Congress is one of the most powerful political offices in the United States.

They are also third in line to take the office of President if both the incumbent and the vice president are unable to.

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